Joaquin Phoenix says Oscar race is ‘bull****’

Meriah Doty
Movie Talk
Joaquin Phoenix
Joaquin Phoenix

If you've been following Joaquin Phoenix closely the past few years, you may have seen this coming.

The 37-year-old actor is getting a lot of Oscar buzz for his performance as a paint thinner-swilling WWII vet who takes up with the founder of a controversial new religion in "The Master." But Phoenix could not care less about lobbying for a golden statuette.

"I think it's bull****," he said recently in Interview Magazine when asked what he's going to do when he's put on the awards circuit for "The Master." "I don't want to be a part of it," Phoenix went on to say, adding, "I don't believe in it. It's a carrot, but it's the worst-tasting carrot I've ever tasted in my whole life. I don't want this carrot. It's totally subjective. Pitting people against each other . . . It's the stupidest thing in the whole world."

[Related: Joaquin Phoenix a no-show as Paul Thomas Anderson jokes at 'The Master' press conference]

It's not like he's speaking from lack of experience. The man has, after all, done the whole dog-and-pony show twice before. He was nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Supporting Actor category in 2001 for "Gladiator" and nominated again for Best Actor in 2006 for "Walk The Line." "It was one of the most uncomfortable periods of my life when 'Walk the Line' was going through all the awards stuff and all that," he told Interview in a Q&A that covered many more Phoenix-related topics than just his disdain for awards show campaigning. "I never want to have that experience again. I don't know how to explain it—and it's not like I'm in this place where I think I'm just above it—but I just don't ever want to get comfortable with that part of things."

[Related: Joaquin Phoenix studied captive animals for 'The Master' toilet-smashing scene]

"The Master," in theaters now, is director Paul Thomas Anderson's thinly-veiled telling of the origins of Scientology. The story is told through the lens of Phoenix's mentally disturbed character who battles addiction with the help of a religious leader, played by Philip Seymour Hoffman, and his wife, played by Amy Adams. The film won high marks when it was shown at both the Venice and Toronto film festivals less than two months ago and has received predominately glowing reviews -- earning 85 percent approval from critics, according to Rotten Tomatoes.

It's not entirely surprising that Phoenix is scoffing at the culture of awards season. He has done some odd things in recent years. He announced he was quitting acting in 2008 only to show up in a strange trip-of-a-mockumentary a few years later called "I'm Still Here." And then there's his legendary appearance -- or lack thereof -- on Letterman, when Phoenix, with sunglasses and unwieldy facial hair, waxed incoherent.

Beyond "The Master," Phoenix is set to appear in three films in the next two years.

Watch 'The Master' Teaser:
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